Sean Thomas graduated with an associates degree in Illustration from the Delaware College of Art and Design in Wilmington, Delaware in 2001 and continued his formal education in Providence, Rhode Island graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA, Illustration) in 2004. For his final year of RISD Sean was selected for the European Honors Program where he studied Italian culture and history, living in Rome for 10 months. While abroad, his focus turned to painting and a fascination in the urban landscape developed. Areas outside of central historic Rome revealed a gritty, yet strangely appealing alternative to what one would find in the guidebooks – congested apartment blocks, sprawling fuel refineries and seaside container ports surrounded by haze and sun
After graduating, Sean settled in Providence, set up a studio and continued his study of the urban landscape with a new understanding and appreciation of the relationships between the natural and man-made environment. He was the recipient of the 2009 Rhode Island State Council for the Arts Fellowship for Painting. While maintaining a studio painting practice, Sean also taught painting workshops for local art organizations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and was a faculty member of the Rhode Island School of Design Continuing Education program.
Sean relocated to Phoenix, Arizona in the spring of 2013, set up a studio and continues to explore the new landscape.
"Elements of the modern landscape have evolved into a sort of paradox. Industry and infrastructure have developed to sustain our lifestyles of necessity, comfort and convenience. Yet the actual means by which our goods and services are provided often become background noise or even an intrusive eyesore. I revel in such feats of engineering – looking at architecture and the industrialized landscape with great interest. My work represents those objects as man-made “fingerprints” integrated into the natural environment with varying degrees of harmony and tension.
My painting methods are connected to the very nature of our modern surroundings – the new built atop the old and traces of the past are often evident in everything new. Working directly from source photos and sketches, the placements and design of the space are priorities and I will treat a source photo as a still-life. Color, tensions, and spatial relationships are continually evaluated and adjusted, resulting in layered works which reinforce a sense of harmony, time and eventual decay. Through this extensive editing process involving re-organization and simplification of subject matter, an aesthetic language is formulated and the context of the everyday environment is altered."
Sean Thomas - 2020